ING Direct — review by Peter

Note: this review originated on my blog reviewing Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial together.

Website: http://www.ingdirect.ca
Account of note: Investment Savings Account, 3.65% as of January 27th, 2008

Catchy ads and fun newsletters call attention to what is actually a rather limited account. You must rely on linking this account to another bank (once you do this, you can transfer money between banks for free), as there are only 7 ATMs in Canada where you won’t be charged fees to withdraw money directly from ING Direct. This might actually encourage you to save your money…

What ING Direct has going for it is the simplest online interface I have ever seen. Online banking beginners will enjoy the flat learning curve:

Simple, easy-to-use interface

Key Details
-no minimum balance required
-no cheques available, no online bill payment system
-very accessible customer service by phone

Interesting Facts:
-Get a $13 sign-up bonus by registering at http://www.ingdirect.ca/en/ISAfriends/ before the end of the 2008. I’d post mine publicly, but that might defeat the unbiased approach I’m going for…
-You can choose to stop receiving paper statements from ING Direct (to be environmentally friendly).

Bottom line:
I have accounts at Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial and here’s my conclusion:

Use ING Direct for the easy-to-use interface.
Use Citizens Bank for the most powerful, flexible account with the best feature-to-rate ratio.
Use PC Financial for the highest rate if you have more than $1,000.


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